What are my rights if my former lender tried to illegally repossess my paid off car?

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What are my rights if my former lender tried to illegally repossess my paid off car?

We bought a car over 4 years ago and paid it off over 1 year ago. However, about 3 hours ago they tried to repo my car in front of my business and in front of business neighbors.I informed the repo guy it was paid off and of course he didn’t want to hear it. I stopped him in time for my grandmother who paid if off to show up and inform him she indeed was the one that paid it off. He didn’t believe her either. In the meantime my wife contacted the bank and that told the guy that it was not out for repo and not to take it. I had called the cops to press charges about this guy but they wouldn’t do anything.Is there anything that I can do to get compensated for the 3 hours of arguing with the guy which caused stress and embarrassment to my whole family?

Asked on October 6, 2010 under General Practice, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

While you certainly have my sympathy, you have no recourse here for two reasons:

1) Liability--or someone's obligation to pay--depends on an intentional bad act or on unreasonable carelessness (negligence). If the repo man following instructions or a list of cars to be repossessed that he was given, there's no reason to think he was doing anything intentionally wrong or negligently. As for whomever provided him the instructions or list, a simple mistake, as often happens with paperwork, does not often create liability in cases like this. There has to be something more.

2) No real damages. Even if you could establish liability, there is no compensation for simple inconvenience or wasting time or embarrassment--otherwise, we'd be suing each other all day long.


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